Tom Reed takes the pulse at Sixfields…
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink sent a message of intent to League 1 and his Northampton squad with the signing of Hildeberto Pereira. The Benfica schooled Portuguese winger signed on a season long-loan from Polish club Legia Warsaw and made an immediate impact on his Cobblers debut.
The ace dribbler, formerly of Nottingham Forest, hit the bar on his debut v Southend United and also set up Town’s 3rd goal in the 3-1 home win which was finished by Alex Revell. After a shot shy start to the season, Town boss Hasselbaink has shown he intends his players to worry opposition goals much more in the second half of Northampton’s League 1 campaign.
This switch to a quicker, more aggressive approach was highlighted by the signing of right-back Shay Facey from Man City for an undisclosed fee on the opening of the transfer window. 23 year-old Facey spent a period on loan at New York City FC while the youngster has also been capped up to Under-20 level by England.
Facey made an immediate impact on the same day Pereira made his debut by showing strong bursts of speed down the Town right flank while also being neat and tidy in possession. Cobblers have been hampered by injuries to established right-back Brendan Moloney and the inability of their stalwart left-back David Buchanan to drive deep into opposition territory. When Facey and Pereira combine down the right it should be a mouthwatering prospect for the Shoe Army.
Town are on catch up after a turgid start to the season but it’s clear that Hasselbaink wants to take the game to Town’s opponents on the tough winter pitches.
Indeed, Northampton also signed the highly rated Jack Bridge from Southend with Cobblers looking to become more versatile in how they develop assertive play in a tough division.
Chinese club owners 5USPORTS will be looking for a swift points return from Northampton who are carrying a large squad for a club of their size. This will mean getting better performances from the likes of lofty midfielder Matt Crooks and the elegant Swansea loanee Matt Grimes. Chris Long up front too will be expected to add more goals to his tally but this may mean another forward being brought him to assist him. The feeling is that once Hasselbaink brings in players in the more workaday positions on the flanks, that Cobblers more talented personnel will begin to fire.
The club have made great strides in improving the match-day ‘experience’ at Sixfields and with Pereira putting in Premier League level performances it really is a good time to get ‘up the Cobblers’ and support the lads.
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